Our fresh-faced captain Joe Root hailed – but now criticised – by the press seems a forlorn figure both mentally and physically.
You can make all the excuses but England were outplayed. Dear old Pargie had followed the Racing Post cricket guru and placed his tenner on a 4-0 win. The problem is that skipper has to make the on-field calls, front up to the media and lead by example. It’s too much for someone who has only captained once. He can call for help and did from the experienced players but he needs to assert himself personally too. There is no obvious replacement and coach Trevor Bayliss has Andrew Strauss’s backing as white ball expert.
What you don’t appreciate in the UK is the chauvinistic nature of the Aussie press who positively relish Pom baiting. Will Swanton in one of the better papers The Australian wrote with relish of the Aussie crowd singing”All Poms are wankers”. If they did, I did not hear them, but I did hear the Barmy Army out-sing them for long periods with such ditties as “4-0 and you still won’t sing.”
Let’s put it in perspective and assess which of the two is the stronger sporting nation. No doubt about it – England. England would win in soccer and rugby union. The Aussies do not have the individuals dominating their sport like Chris Froome, Anthony Joshua, Lewis Hamilton and Mo Farah – and if we extend to UK – Rory McIlroy and Andy Murray. If we take the criterion of team athletic performance, in the 2012 Olympiad UK finished 2nd with 65 medals (29 golds) and – in Rio 4 years later – 2nd with 67 medals (27 golds). By contrast Australian finished 8th in 2012 with 35 medals (8 golds) and – in Rio – 10th with 29 medals (8 golds). I rest my case.